WASHINGTON – The most powerful Republicans in Washington stood firmly behind President Donald Trump and his unsupported claims of voter fraud on Thursday, but new cracks emerged among GOP leaders elsewhere who believe it's time to treat Democrat Joe Biden like the president-elect he is.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who endorsed Trump's reelection, became the latest Republican official to say what Trump and his allies refuse to accept. The GOP governor acknowledged that Biden's lead is getting "bigger and bigger by the day” and Trump’s legal options are dissipating.
“Joe Biden is the president-elect, and I think like most Americans, we suspect he’ll be taking the oath of office in January,” Sununu told reporters, insisting there was no legal fraud in his state, which Biden easily carried.
Separately, and party arguing aside, the state and federal officials and election technology companies that run U.S. elections declared Thursday that the Nov. 3 national election was “ the most secure in American history. " The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency said, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
In a barely veiled shot at Trump and his supporters, the agency said Americans should have confidence in the results although “we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections.”
That's a departure from the overwhelming majority of Republican officials who still refuse to publicly accept Biden's victory. The resistance is complicating Biden's effort to lead a smooth transition to the January inauguration, keeping him from the funding and agency resources typically afforded to an incoming administration.
But some Republicans, worried about the national security implications of those hurdles, are beginning to say that Biden should at least have access to intelligence briefings so he has the most complete information about threats facing the country when he takes office.
“I think — especially on classified briefings — the answer is yes,” said the Senate’s most senior Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa. That echoed comments by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, among other GOP colleagues.